boots were made for kicking your butt and that’s exactly what Wu-lin is going
to do. His master instantly recognized he was the only one skilled and virtuous
enough to wear the Iron Boots. Years later, this is still a sore point for
Wu-lin’s former fellow disciple, Jiang-li. Wu-lin has yet to remove said boots
over that same period of time, as per tradition, which sounds pretty fragrant.
Perhaps that explains why his boss’s daughter is less than thrilled to have him
tagging along. However, she will soon be quite happy to have him handy in Yue
Song’s The Bodyguard (trailer here), which screens
during the 2016 New York Asian Film Festival.
it looks like Wu-lin lives off tips for doing the Van Damme-style splits, until
chance reunites him with Jiang-li. Knowing his skills, Jiang-li hires his
former brother for his bodyguard company, even though they seem to subscribe to
the Enter the Dragon/Kill and Kill Again calisthenics
programs. Much to everyone’s consternation, the wealthy Li Jia-shan immediately
hires Wu-lin to serve as his daughter’ bodyguard, partly because he saved Li’s
bacon in an earlier action scene, but mostly because looks honest (he certainly
doesn’t dress like bribed-up turncoat).
basically Li hires Wu-lin to protect Fei-fei from the rest of his own company.
Sure, that makes sense, just like it makes sense to have a paramilitary looking
bodyguard agency fronting for a Kung Fu death cult with shadowy financial
interests. Frankly, it is never clear just how their evil business plan works,
but messing with the Li family seems to be a big part of it.
Yue has got killer moves and a reasonably engaging screen presence. His debut The King of the Streets was appealingly
grungy, but The Bodyguard represents
a considerable step up in filmmaking skills. The scale is larger this time
around and the action sequences are more ambitious. Becki Li also elevates her
thesp chops as Li, developing some nice platonic chemistry with Yue. Yet, maybe
most notably, the actor-director also recruits some big name sparring partners,
including former Shaolin monk Xing Yu (a.k.a. Shi Yanneng), who crushes it as
You’d better take off your pedantry cap, because
Yue does not have a lot of time to waste on logic. Instead, he is putting his
iron boots in bad guys’ faces. There also happens to be an iron fist, but it
definitely plays second banana to the boots. It is all kind of silly, but also
pretty awesome. Recommended as a good old fashioned, old school Kung Fu
beatdown, The Bodyguard screens this Saturday
night (6/25) at the Walter Reade, where the presentation of the Daniel A. Craft
Award for Action Excellence Award to Yue will be part of the festivities.
Labels: Martial arts cinema, NYAFF '16, Xing Yu, Yue Song